One night last summer, my husband had a dinner meeting and there was a movie on tv that the girls and I wanted to watch. So we took our plates and ate in the livingroom.
Baby, our yorkie, was about 6 months old . She is very tiny, she weighs 5 pounds soaking wet. She is at my daughter’s feet watching every bite my daughter takes, knowing that she isn’t supposed to have people food.
I said something to Kristen and she turned her head towards me. Before we could react, Baby had jumped up on the couch, grabbed the Grands Biscuit off of Kristen’s plate and was GONE. It was the funniest thing I’ve seen. This biscuit is bigger than her head, and here she is trotting across the floor, headed for her hiding place so she could munch down.
What made it even funnier, is that Kristen, my 17 year old high school Senior, puts her plate down and takes off after the dog, hollering “Give me my biscuit back, you rat.”
I asked her what she planned to do with it once she got it back.
She got really red in the face and said “Can I have another one?”
It’s a funny story, but it really made me begin to think about Baby’s house training. I knew the vet didn’t recommend table scraps, but I’d spoiled her really badly and allowed her to have a bite now and then. So I began to research, wondering if I could “undo” the damage that was already done. It seems that I can, and did.
The Yorkshire Terrier dates all the way back to England, prior to 1750. They began as a breed familiar to farm life, and were used to keep the vermin away from the house and barn. They could weigh up to about 30 pounds. Today, they weigh somewhere between 3-7 pounds and are primarily show dogs and as in my case, completely rotten lap dogs.
House Training was easy. In our case, we used puppy pads, purchased at Walmart. First in her crate, and then both in her crate and by the front door. We found that she would use the puppy pads in between times that she went outside quite readily, as she had gotten used to them inside her crate.
We bought a crate large enough for her to move around freely inside of. She has enough room for food and water bowls and room to play with a toy. If she isn’t cramped up all day, she is less likely to cause destruction after you take her out, even during the “chew stage”.
The first thing we did was to choose a treat. We use “People Crackers” they are dog biscutes, shaped like people. They come in several different flavors and are available at most dollar and discount stores. They are little and thin, therefore easier for smaller dogs to chew. Baby loves them because they crunch, she doesn’t care for chewy treats. Whatever you choose, stay with it. Just like food, it’s important for their digestion to be consistant.
Use the treats for rewards when the dog does what you want. Always praise them at the same time that you’re offering the treat. Yorkies are smart dogs, and they will soon learn that the “praise voice” indicates they’re going to get a treat. Baby will begin to dance around in little circles when she hears one of us say “good girl.”
Some recommended that we put her in the crate, or outside while we were eating. I didn’t want her to feel as though our mealtimes were a punishment, so I just couldn’t bring myself to do that. Instead, I started to feed her at the same time, across the room from us. At first, she would go and grab a mouthful of food and come running back into the diningroom and sit underneath my feet to eat it. I would pick her up and carry her back to her bowl and instruct her to stay.
It took 3-4 days to accomplish the task of getting her to stay there to eat her food. The first night she did it, we immediately gave her a treat. Unfortunately, Baby is extremely intelligent, and she then started to gobble down her food and then spend the rest of our dinner begging again. We went back to work, taking her back across the room and instructing her to stay. (You can use sit or lie down…whatever command you’ve chosen)
Again, it took 3-4 days of repetition to get her to do what we wanted, but she did learn. The third step was training her to be patient. She would see the first person finish their dinner and begin to rise from the table, and she would start her little dance. Running back and forth between the cabinet where her treats are kept and the family member who was trying to load his plate into the dishwasher.
So back to the training we went. Placing her beside her bowl and giving her the “Stay” command. This time, it took a little longer. I think we worked with her for about 10 days before she finally allowed all of us to finish, or for someone to call her.
It’s been a much more pleasant experience for all of us. Baby doesn’t beg for food that she isn’t allowed to have anyway, and we don’t have to listen to her gerbil-like whining while we’re trying to finish dinner. She finishes her meal, and then will lay quietly until her name is called and the treat bag is pulled out of the cabinet. Then here she comes, running as hard as she can.
I will forever be able to see her in my mind running across the floor with that biscuit in her mouth.Nifty(“div.genericSCorner”,”top”);